August 7, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
This year’s annual EAA Gathering of Eagles fundraising dinner was yet another success, raising a total of $2.49 million from its raucous, fast-paced auction. Hundreds of items were up for bid, both in a silent auction and a not-so-silent, well-produced public one.
A five-day trip to Switzerland to fly as wingman with Jetman Yves Rossy—and to fly in his two-seat Hawker Hunter fighter—went for $100,000. The winning bid to hang out, fly, and play golf with airshow legend Sean D. Tucker was $110,000. But the high point of the event, as always, was the auctioning of a very special, glass-roofed, 5.0-liter, supercharged 600-horsepower 2014 Ford Mustang done up with 22-inch wheels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds markings and logos. The winning bidder paid a whopping $398,000 for the Mustang.
Speaking of Tucker, the aerobatic star was named the new honorary chairman of the EAA’s Young Eagles program. He succeeds Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles—the crew that safely ditched an Airbus in the Hudson River after suffering a bird-ingestion-induced double engine failure. The Young Eagles program encourages volunteer pilots to give first flights to teenagers.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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